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C93 Borchardt: the First Successful Self-Loading Pistol at RIA

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Hugo Borchardt was a brilliant and well-traveled firearms designer. He was born in Germany but emigrated to the United States at a fairly young age, where he became engaged in the gun trade. He spent time working with Winchester, Remington (where he patented improvements on James Paris Lee’s box magazine idea), and Sharps (where he […]

Union/Reifgraber .32 S&W Autopistol at RIA

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The Reifgraber, aka Union Automatic Pistol, is an interesting mechanical design from an inventor with an interesting personal background.

Joseph Joachim Reifgraber was born in Austria in 1856, and emigrated to the United States at some point before the mid 1880s. He was a machinist by trade, and was clearly a political activist as well, […]

Erika 4.25mm Pistol at RIA

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Today we’re looking an another early European micro-pistol. This is the Erika, developed by Franz Pfannl and chambered for the 4.25mm Liliput cartridge (which develops approximately 1/4 the energy of the .25 ACP).

These pistols were actually carried for personal protection, under the theory that any gun was better than no gun, and that the […]

Detonics MkI at RIA: The Original Sub-Compact 1911

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Today we are accustomed to seeing sub-compact 3.5″ 1911 pistols for sale from a whole bunch of manufacturers – but this was not always the case. Making a really small 1911 actually run reliably is not a trivial proposition, as the slide velocity and spring force become very touchy, and small changes can have major […]

Plus Ultra: The Supersized Ruby Pistol at RIA

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The “Plus Ultra” was a variation on the Ruby automatic pistol made by Gabilondo y Urresti (the original holders of the Ruby trademark) just shortly before they changed their name to Llama. The Plus Ultra was a scaled-up Ruby using double stack, 22-round magazines (still chambered for .32ACP). It offered much greater capacity than the […]

Colt Z40 Pistol #1 at RIA

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However, after only 800 had been sold, Colt backed out of the deal and dropped the Z40 from its catalog. Why? Because they had happened to use a Z40 as the base gun for a model “smart gun”, and the public reaction was overwhelmingly negative. In the aftermath, Colt management threw out the Z40 as […]

Colt Model 1909 Automatic at RIA

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A while back I put together a video on the development of the Colt/Browning 1911 pistol, and one of the missing links in that video was the Model 1909. Well, one of the 23 Model 1909 pistols is up for sale in this next Rock Island auction, so I took the opportunity to look at […]

Sunngård 1909 Pistol

Sunngard automatic pistol

Just a photo – of probably the nicest Sunngård pistol in existence today, along with its holster. Thanks to Lars for sending it!

(click to enlarge)

Q&A Video, November 2015

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Thanks to the awesome people supporting Forgotten Weapons through Patreon for sending in more questions that I could get to for another month!

This month the subjects include:

Browning lock vs others in handguns Best modern weapon for WWI Turret revolvers Affordable “forgotten weapons” Welrod pistol C&R rifle parts sources WWII souvenir? Finnish firearms […]

2-Gun WWI Extravaganza: BEF vs German Landser (Video)

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This is the second of our two videos from the most recent 2-Gun match, which was designed with an explicit World War One theme. This one is a head to head match between me, kitted out as a BEF rifleman, and Karl, portraying a rear-line German reservist with a Gewehr 88.

The fact that […]